ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) — Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), was today named among the “World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Change Policy 2019”. It is the first time such a list, which will become an annual tradition, has been compiled. Only five other Africans are on the list.
Apolitical, the global network for government, curated the list after screening hundreds of nominations by public servants from around the world, including experts at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Harvard University, Oxford University, Bloomberg Philanthropies, NGOs and more.
“The list highlights people currently making the biggest impact on climate change policy… Those recognized include high-profile advocates whose work is indispensable to raising awareness and demanding change. Others are rising stars who are making their mark in local communities and are a driving force behind governmental progress,” Apolitical said in a statement.
Mr Mwenda said in Accra, Ghana, where his organisation is co-hosting the Africa Climate Week with the UNFCCC: “This is a great honour and not only to me as an individual. It is more than anything else a recognition of the work PACJA has put in for more than a decade to shape just, fair and equitable climate policies and action in Africa and globally. I wish to extend my gratitude to all our members, affiliates and partners who have believed in our vision and assure them of our continued commitments to pursue our shared vision in the ensuing transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient future.”
The climate policy and action community in Africa has welcomed the distinction.
Jame Murombedzi, Chief, Climate Change Unit and Coordinator of Addis Ababa-based Africa Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said: “It has been evident for some years that effective climate policy and action requires more than state actors. During the build up to COP21 in 2015, there was incredible expectation that the world would deliver a framework capable of regulating climate actions and ensuring that we achieve a stable climate system. This process also recognised that there was a need to engage CSOs and other non-state actors in ensuring a global governance regime and also in holding state actors accountable.
“On the African continent, PACJA emerged as the leader in convening African CSOs and mobilising the participation of the civil society in national and global processes. PACJA played a significant role in linking CSOs with Pan-African institutions, such as the Pan-African Parliament, the African Union Commission, NEPAD, the African Development Bank and UNECA. PACJA ensured that the civil society became an important component of continental climate change initiatives, such as the Climate for Development in Africa program (CLIMDEV AFRICA). All of this was achieved under the leadership of Mr Mwenda, who is indeed recognised in African climate change circles as representing a disciplined and consistent position on climate change and development in our continent.”
Kwame Ababio, Senior Program Officer, Environmental Governance and Climate Change at the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD said: “The role that PACJA has played to bring together CSOs and other stakeholders has galvanised Africa's overall approach to climate change and its related issues on the continent. As a leading voice on climate change issues, PACJA has also played a strong advocacy role in ensuring that issues that affect the ordinary citizens in the most remote parts of the continent are highlight at national, regional and global levels.
Mr Meenda has played a key role in making all of this happen. He has been a very strong voice on climate action issues. Evidently, the support he has provided to CSOs in championing climate issues has led to a better coordination of non-state actors with the climate change arena.”
Seth Osafo, Legal Adviser at the Africa Group of Negotiators to the UNFCCC processes, said: “I have been involved with PACJA for more than five years now and I think PACJA, under Mr Mwenda, has been very effective as an advocacy group in bringing to the fore the challenges that Africa faces with regards to climate change. One thing that I have found very effective from PACJA is the statements and documents they produce on specific climate change issues, particularly during negotiations. These have been particularly useful to the African Group of Negotiator. We see PACJA as a good collaborator with respect to the support they give the African Broup of Negotiators.”
About Mr Mwenda
Before founding PACJA ten years ago with a couple of other individuals, Mr Mwenda, a public policy analyst, worked as a Program Officer with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) from 2009 to 2010. He is currently a PhD candidate at Wits School of Governance in South Africa. He also chairs the institutional Collaboration Platform of ECA-based Climate Research for Development in Africa (CR4D) as well as represents the African civil society in the participants’ committee of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
PACJA is a continental coalition of Civil Society Organizations with a goal to mobilize and empower African civil society to ensure the realization of environmental and climate justice for all people in Africa. It is the largest consortium of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) with over 1000 members in over 48 countries in Africa, embodying one African voice on climate and environmental justice.
Apolitical is a peer-to-peer learning platform for government that puts the best solutions at the fingertips of public servants, wherever they are in the world. The platform is used by public servants and policymakers in more than 160 countries to connect with each other and to find original and curated content about what’s working in policymaking around the world, including on topics such as digital government and government innovation.
YAMBIO, South Sudan (PAMACC News) - Since 2013, South Sudan has never known peace, and the country has been a beehive of foreign media reporting all manners of stories that depict a desperate, helpless and a bleeding nation.
However, a recent Job Fair, and event organized by the State Government of Gbudue in Yambio, some 430 kilometers west of the capital Juba depicted a totally different spectacle. It was a picture of thousands of enthusiastic women and youth – most of them ex-rebel fighters, but have a lot of hope for their future, a picture of a resilient society, and a community that is eager to produce own food to become self reliant.
“Gbudue is a peaceful state, and its citizens are mediators of peace. They come up with homegrown solutions to their own problems,” Governor of Gbudue State Hon. Daniel Badagbu told a UN mission at the Job Fair, who had come to interact with local partners and beneficiaries of UNDP’s multi-dimensional support to recovery and resilience in the State.
The mission, which consisted of UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa Onochie and UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Crisis Bureau Ms. Asako Okai was also joined by the Kingdom of the Netherlands Director-General for International Cooperation H.E. Reina Buijs, and high-level delegations from the Embassies of Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
“Now that peace is here in South Sudan, we need to create jobs, especially for the youth, we need to empower the women and the youth, and include these groups in decision-making,” added the governor.
AGRA is already on the ground planting the seed of hope by introducing smallholder farmers – most of them women and the youth to profitable agriculture to make them food secure and have a source of livelihood.
At the Job Fair, Global Agriculture Innovation and Solutions (GAIS), a local seed company working with AGRA in South Sudan showcased different types of improved seeds for drought tolerant crops, fast maturing and crops that cope well with climatic conditions in Gbudue State.
The company is working closely with local smallholder farmers to multiply the seeds so that they can be planted by thousands of women and youth who have returned home from the battlefields.
The event which was hosted with support from the Kingdom of Netherlands brought together women entrepreneurs of Masia Market and is supported by the Government of Japan, youth benefitting from economic empowerment projects to boost re-integration, and peace committees.
“If you see the energy among the youth and women here, you will realize that they all yearn for development in their communities. Their hard work shows that they are ready to join entrepreneurships and fend for themselves,” said Pia Philip Michael, the Gbudue State Minister for Education, Gender and Social Welfare.
Previously “the government could apprehend and imprison all the ex-fighters returning from the bush,” added Michael.
According to the minister, the government learned that nearly all the returnees had joined the rebel groups because they were promised a constant salary of 200 dollars every month, and “this points to a livelihood issue,” he said.
And now, AGRA is determined to offer them sources of livelihoods they all yearn for, through agri-entrepreneurship.
“It all begins with seed,” said AGRA’s Dr Jane Ininda, who is a plant breeding expert. “If we have to make a difference, then we need to avail certifiable seed to all famers, and it should be compatible with the prevailing climatic conditions,” she said.
With support from AGRA, GAIS has trained 7,200 smallholder farmers in Gbudue and Lakes States on seed multiplication.
“In the two states, we concentrate on improved seeds of fast-maturing maize varieties, groundnuts, sorghum and cowpeas, which are the most appreciated food crops in these two states,” said Rahul Saharan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for GAIS
In Gbudue State alone, over 1,900 ex-fighters have been taken through rehabilitation programs, and have been released to join vocational training and engage in agribusiness, with others being integrated into organized forces.
“Guns cannot be used to win the war,” said Governor Badagbu. “All we need is to create jobs, especially for the youth by introducing them to agribusiness and giving them livelihood skills through vocational trainings,” he told thousands of residents and the UN delegation at the Yambio Job Fair.
According to Reina Buijs, it is only by taking action that peace will prevail in South Sudan. “It is good to see the government, the private sector, the civil society, the clergy, and the people come together for the sake of peace,” said Buijs. “There can be many nice words on paper, or spoken, but if it does not translate in concrete actions, people cannot believe any more.”
“It feels great to see the donor support being translated into future hope for the people and in implementing the peace agreement,” she said, adding that the Netherlands would be proud to continue supporting such initiatives in South Sudan.
ABUJA, Nigeria (PAMACC News) - Solidaridad, an international network of developmental civil society organisations will now partner with the Nigerian government in its agricultural transformation agenda, the commitment made inits Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in the Paris Climate Agreement as well as achieving the objective of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.
This was disclosed when the team from Solidaridad West Africa led by Solidaridad Network Senior Climate Specialist for Africa Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah paid a visit to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Federal Ministry of Environment (Department of Climate Change –DCC and National REDD+ Secretariat) in Abuja.
Dr. Ogallah added that Solidaridad will continue to bring to bear in Nigeria and other African countries the organization’s fifty (50) years of global experience working in the development of profitable supply chains, climate smart innovations, creating sustainable businesses and livelihoods across 13 different agricultural and other non-agricultural commodities working closely with smallholder farmers and producers for a change that matters.
Dr. Peter Tarfa, The Director, Department of Climate Change (DCC) welcomed the team and recalled the successful partnership between Solidaridad and the Federal Ministry of Environment through the Department of Climate Change at the event held in the Nigerian Pavilion during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.
Dr. Tarfa commended Solidaridad for its role inClimate smart agriculture helping farmers to increase productivity sustainably, adapt to climate change and addressing mitigation actions along the value chain. While promising the support of the department and working closely with the organization, he called on Solidaridad to also consider its interventions in other commodities like cotton and groundnut in Nigeria in addition to oil palm, leather, fruits and vegetables and cocoa.
Solidaridad team were received by Dr. Moses Ama and his team at the National REDD+ Secretariat. Dr. Ama in his address stated that agriculture to date remain one of the major drivers of deforestation in many developing countries and express optimism that Solidaridad’s approach of doing business in the sector with its principle of ‘producing more with less’will contribute to reversing these trends.
He added that investment in agriculture will be wasted without climate change considerations and welcomed the partnership between Solidaridad and Nigeria REDD+ Secretariat. The UN-REDD+ programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing nations. Dr. Ama also highlighted some of the interventions the Secretariat is currently undertaking including those supported by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank in Ondo, Cross River and Nasarawa State among others.
At the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, The Deputy Director, Tree Crops, Mr. B.C. Ukatta led his team in an interactive session held between Solidaridad and the Ministry. Both team underscored the importance of working collaboratively towards achieving self-sufficiency in palm oil and other agricultural commodities in Nigeria.
He commended Solidaridad’s climate smart approaches to agricultural practices and helping smallholder farmers to escape poverty through its various interventions along the value and supply chain in the agriculture sector in the face of climate change and its impacts on agriculture while pledging their support to Solidaridad.
In Nigeria, Solidaridad in collaboration with cocoa companies have trained over 27,000 farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in cocoa production and about 78% of the producers trained have adopted GAP and there has been about 40% increase in productivity of producers under GAP. Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) have assisted over 5000 smallholders’ cocoa farmers to become UTZ certified in Nigeria.
Under its Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP), Solidaridad has conducted studies on oil palm in Nigeria. Strong awareness on sustainable climate smart oil palm production has also been created among stakeholders in the sector and Solidaridad supported the National interpretation process for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO) Principles and Criteria in Nigeria. Find more about Solidaridad at www.solidaridadnetwork.org
ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - The demand for cocoa remains high, with increasing consumption of cocoa products by emerging economies which is expected to increase in the coming decades.
However, the cost of producing the beans continues to increase, yields are declining and the negative impacts of climate change continue to threaten the already poor smallholder cocoa farmers.
The cocoa sector has also seen very limited innovations and new investments while cocoa trees and farmers continue to age.
“One of the impacts of this dwindling productivity is the removal of shade trees from farms and the expansion of cocoa cultivation into areas of rainforest,” said Harm Duiker, Country Director of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. “As a result, globally, cocoa is counted among the major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss”.
As a forest shade grown tree, cocoa is a crop that thrives in areas of high biodiversity and tropical forests landscapes.
Farmers and scientists alike recognize that shade trees are vital to reducing both ecological and economic risks, including maintenance of soil fertility and moisture, weed suppression and pest and disease control.
They also acknowledge shade trees play an important role in climate adaption in cocoa system.
However, there is increasing demand for scientific evidence of ecological and economic benefits of trees in cocoa systems.
Recent studies have contested the benefits claimed to be associated with cocoa agroforestry, including mitigating adverse climate effects, pathogen or disease regulation, and more importantly improvements in soil fertility.
The Cocoa Dialogue
The national dialogue on cocoa agroforestry systems therefore had the objective of consolidating evidence-based ecological and economic benefits of cocoa agroforestry systems, identifying gaps in knowledge and to ensure consistency in promoting cocoa agroforestry science, policy and practice in Ghana.
It was organised by SNV Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The event attracted experts who observed that gaps in science and practice, and inconsistencies in the promotion of cocoa agroforestry as well as land and tree tenure bottlenecks constitute major challenges to the rapid adoption of cocoa agroforestry systems among smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana.
They called for increased research to fill the gaps in evidence-base science and the practice of cocoa agroforestry systems in Ghana.
Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ahia Clottey, the Deputy Director Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED), reiterated COCOBOD’s commitment to promoting cocoa agroforestry under its recently launched cocoa rehabilitation project.
He said the current programme targets only 156,400ha out of the 700,000 total rehabilitation need of the entire cocoa landscape of Ghana.
He therefore called for stakeholders’ investment into cocoa rehabilitation in order to increase productivity of current land under cultivation in Ghana.
Expert presentations and discussions were made on the current state of knowledge on soil improvement, soil nutrient and water competition, disease and pest control, trees species recommendation in shaded cocoa systems.
According to Prof. Boateng Kyeremeh from the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, KNUST, the realities of climate change vis-a-vis sustainability show the importance of holding the national dialogue to help farmers built resilience.
He believes Ghana’s cocoa industry should be able to meet the challenges imposed by climate change with scientific support and political will.
Building Resilient Smallholder Systems
The national dialogue forms part of activities under the Shaded Cocoa Agroforestry System (SCAFS) project, being implemented by SNV with funding support from the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
SNV supports cocoa agroforestry as a model towards more diversified and resilient smallholder systems that can help to increase and secure production in the long term with ecological benefits.
“This is important to smallholder cocoa farmers that are affected sometimes by highly volatile global prices and by climate change,” said Harm Duiker.
He indicated that cocoa agroforestry practices come at a cost to smallholder farmers and a deeper understanding of the processes in cocoa agroforestry systems will help to promote its benefits to smallholder farmers.
The national dialogue on cocoa agroforestry systems was attended by academia and research institutions, private license cocoa buying companies, farmer’ representatives, non-governmental organizations and representatives from the public.